Well folks this was the weekend we’ve all been waiting for, too bad it didn’t turn out how we all expected it to. I’m not sure what it is about Pittsburgh sports, but it seems like their can only be one team on a hot streak at a time in this city, and this week it was the Penguins. The Pens got three wins this week, all of which coming in overtime, and all of which coming against opponents from western Canada. Kris Letang proved calling him up from Wilkes-Barre was wise as he provided the game winner in the shootout two games in a row. The Flower got hurt early in the week, but Danny S came in and looked impressive in his two starts leading Bob Erray to state, “maybe they shouldn’t tell Sabourin when he’s gonna play in future games.” The Pens have won 8 of their last 9 games making their record 15-12 for the season.
It is good to see the Pens finally getting their act together. It seems like the lines that Thierren has going now are meshing well together. I know coach T likes to mess around with the lines a lot, but apparently there is a method to his madness, as he seems to finally have put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I especially like the fact he is giving Malkin and Crosby minutes on the penalty kill, as their hard work seems to be supplying the Pens with more energy and goal scoring chances. It is also nice to see Danny S stepping in and playing on a high level in goal. All these factors combined with the fact that Mad Max Talbot is back in the starting lineup, are adding up to more wins and more points for the once struggling Pens team. Next up we’re in Philly tomorrow night for a rivalry game with Flyers.
(Pic from viewimages.com)
Could he give Sid a few pointers in the shoot out?
The Pens weren’t the only sports action on Saturday, we also were treated to a Pitt basketball game. The Panthers played the Washington Huskies Saturday afternoon, and after 7 games in the Pete, and 1 game down the road at the AJ Palumbo Center, this game would be their first true road game. This would be no walk in the park either, as the Huskies were sporting a 31 game winning streak against non-conference opponents at home (4 years and 5 days incase you were counting), which was the longest such streak in the Nation.
Pitt struggled a little in the first half of this one, but managed to keep it close thanks to 16 first half points out of point guard and team leader Levance Fields. Fields had a game high 20 points going 7 of 9 from the field. Sam Young and Mike Cook each contributed 14 points. The highlight of the game came off of a steal and fast break opportunity, on a give and go pass with Young and Fields, which resulted in an alley-oop slam-dunk from high-flyer Sam Young (37 inch vertical leap). Blair also came up huge on Saturday posting a double double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. He actually grabbed 14 of the 31 rebounds Pitt had in the game, and he also had 3 steals and 2 blocks.
The Huskies were led by guard Appleby who came off the bench and scored 18 (on 6 three pointers), including a couple three’s late in the game that kept his team alive. Forward Brockman played a big role for Washington, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 boards, 7 on the offensive end. Washington, trailing most of the second half due to a strong start from Pitt, actually had a chance to win this one at the end of regulation. Huskies point guard Dentmon hit what appeared to be the game winning lay-up, after a Fields missed foul shot, which led to a celebration from the crowd. The play was close though and after what seemed like an eternity the ref’s made the right call and waved off the winning basket because the ball hadn’t left his hand before the clock expired, giving Pitt their 9th win of the season.
Pitt may have got lucky in this one, but the Washington Huskies looked like a pretty solid team, especially playing on their home court. It is good to see upperclassman Fields and Young having a solid season thus far. There were ramblings that Young was unhappy with his playing time last year as a sophomore, but luckily for Pitt he decided to stick around, and it is paying off as Young is putting up points in bunches. The biggest difference between this year’s team and last year’s is that we now have an outstanding athlete at the center position. The presence of DeJuan Blair allows Pitt to play more of a transition game, which we lacked with super slow white boy Gray, and that seems to favor all of those NYC guards on the team who like to run and gun. Losing big-man Aaron Gray definitely hurts, but so far Blair isn’t playing like a freshman; his hard work ethic is translating into better chemistry with the players who surround him. Pitt gets a week break before they see Oklahoma at home next Saturday afternoon.